Flint marks 9 years since start of water crisis

financial settlement to 45,000 claimants may not pay out until 2024; Criminal cases are stalled

FLINT – A moment nine years ago set off a water crisis that would be felt for decades in the City of Flint.

With the flip of a switch, thousands of children were exposed to high lead levels from the drinking water, and now close to a decade later, the effects are still felt all across the city.

Nine years ago, the water switch in Flint caused a crisis that captured attention worldwide.

On Tuesday (April 25), Local 4 looks at the challenges plaguing the Vehicle City and the people calling it home.

Much has changed, but many problems remain.

“People are tired, disappointed, and let down,” said Karen Weaver. “That’s how we’ve been, so I don’t know if it’s changed because that’s how we’ve been for such a long time.”

Weaver was the mayor of Flint during the crisis. Almost 30,000 water lines have been inspected and 10,000 replaced, but many still need work.

The financial settlement to 45,000 claimants may not pay out until 2024, and as of Tuesday, the criminal cases are stalled.

“No one has been held accountable, but you see, people’s lives have been damaged in some people’s lives permanently,” Weaver said. “We’ve lost people.”

A group of community activists used their voices to remind you Flint is still struggling and the community still needs help.

“The fact that it’s been dragged out for nine years, and we’re not seeing justice yet,” said Chris Calsey.

Much progress has been made. Education and health programs are in place.

While some may disagree with the number, the settlement agreement is what the plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed to, and the money will make its way to those impacted.

“When will it pay out.” said one man. “Will it payout last year? No. Will it payout this year? We don’t know.”

Local 4 was told that payments hopefully would make their way to those affected sometime this year or next year.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.